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Seattle Times: Barbecue Smith brings great brisket to Seattle

From the owner of the beloved Chuck’s Hop Shop bars comes a Central Texas-style barbecue joint in Maple Leaf, with the excellent tap list you’d imagine.

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Neither Chuck’s Hop Shop, the Greenwood nor the Central District location, offers much in the way of food. For all Chuck’s fanatics, it’s its only shortcoming.

Even owner Chuck Shin acknowledges that.

Well, his latest endeavor will please those beer fanatics. Shin has invested in a barbecue place in Maple Leaf, offering up his familiar top-notch roster of IPAs and microbrews to go with some excellent, finger-licking barbecue.

Barbecue Smith

Barbecue

7919 Roosevelt Way N.E. (Maple Leaf), Seattle; opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.; bar open until 10 p.m.); Monday is the Texas ramen special, noon-9 p.m.; closed Tuesdays (206-257-1333, barbecuesmith.wordpress.com)

Barbecue Smith serves one of the best Central Texas-style briskets in the city. But you’ll have to come before 8 p.m. since it usually sells out, despite smoking more than 100 pounds on most nights.

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Shin partnered with Jason Jacobs, a plumber by trade and a barbecue enthusiast who finally ditched his day job in July and found the investor he needed to follow his hickory-smoked dream.

Jacobs, the pitmaster, is self-taught, though he counts Jack Timmons of the critically acclaimed Jack’s BBQ as a mentor, or as he puts it, his 1-800 guy.

The menu: Brisket and ribs are the highlights, though there’s also pulled pork, chicken and sausage. Vegetarians, your consolation prize is portobello mushroom. Meat can be ordered by the pound or as a combo meal (meat with two sides for $13-$17). Six side options range from mac and cheese to potato salad. Sweet iced tea, a pickle and white bread are complimentary.

Don’t miss: Request the fatty cut of the applewood-and-hickory-smoked brisket. It’s tender with a deep smokiness and a defined crust, or bark, that doesn’t taste burnt. Like the best Central Texas-style brisket, there’s little seasoning — just salt and black pepper. The ribs get rubbed with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, paprika and chili and are smoked to a point where they are still chewy but succulent. It’s one of the few ribs in this city that isn’t overcooked. Sides tasted as if they were just made: fresh creamy potato salad with a crunchy pickle-and-onion bite and tender collard greens with bacon bits. There’s also “Chuck’s Mom’s Famous Kimchi,” not four-alarm spicy but pleasantly acidic to help cut into all the smoky, fatty meat. The beer list, as expected, is stellar — 23 rotating beers with more taps coming. There’s a Cloudburst Brewing pilsner and a Skookum Brewery amber. This is Texas-style barbecue, so of course there’s Shiner Bock from the Lone Star State.

What to skip: Mushy chicken was wrapped in an inedible tough skin. The white cheddar and fontina in the mac and cheese hadn’t melted to form gooey goodness.

Texas Ramen Monday: The prep cooks have fun, doing ramen noodles with briskets every Monday from noon to 9 p.m. (Note: No regular barbecue is served on Mondays.) Coming soon, Barbecue Smith will offer lunch with leftover barbecue for sandwiches, sliders and tacos, along with a smoked meatball sub. Check the webpage for updates.

Prices: Brisket with mac and cheese and potato salad ($17), a chicken plate with kimchi and collard greens ($13) with white bread and pickles, a quarter rack of spare ribs ($9) and two beers ($5 each) totaled $49, a hearty dinner for two.